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When you’re labeled by Forbes as a “Billion Dollar Start-Up,” the expectations are set pretty high. But for Truepill President and Co-Founder Sid Viswanathan, the goal was never about earning accolades, it was about re-energizing and modernizing an aging healthcare system. 

“As consumers, we live in a world that’s driven by [the fact that] you can order something on your phone and it shows up in that same hour, or that following day. Behind the scenes, that’s been really hard to do in healthcare because of all the different interconnected dependencies, and all the complexities of our healthcare system in America. For us, it was really important to simplify that because at the end of the day, the consumer cares about getting their medication on time or getting that lab test in their home. So it was critical for us to make sure that we built our entire infrastructure with that consumer in mind.” 

The journey from the idea of simplifying the healthcare system to established start-up doing that and more wasn’t an easy one — but Sid knew it wouldn’t be. On this episode of IT Visionaries, Sid discusses how his first entrepreneurial adventure helped pave the way for Truepill, and he explains why the healthcare industry has been slow to implement new technologies. Plus he reveals that oftentimes you might not know your company’s true mission until a few years down the road.

Main Takeaways

  • Adopt and Adapt: In healthcare, the adoption of new technologies has been extremely slow. While the industry as a whole has implemented new measures and techniques, the underlying issue for the lack of adoption centers on the fact that there is no real incentive for pharmacies to change their practices.
  • If You Build it, They Will Come: When you’re first launching a platform, start with the mindset of doing the entire project yourself – no contractors, no DevOps personnel, or software engineers. When you develop the platform yourself it sets your team up to have a longer runway to success and allows you to build longer because you are not taking on the front-end cost of development.
  • Customer Centric: One of the biggest challenges the healthcare industry has faced is the process has not been designed with the customer experience in mind. Regardless of which industry you are in, when you begin to build your products and services with the customer experience in mind, it provides you with the ability to streamline processes that dampen the overall experience.

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For a more in-depth look at this episode, check out the article below.


When you’re labeled by Forbes as a “Billion Dollar Start-up,” the expectations feel exponential. But for Truepill President and Co-Founder Sid Viswanathan, the goal was never about earning accolades, it was about reenergizing and modernizing an aging healthcare system. 

“As consumers, we live in a world that’s driven by [the fact that] you can order something on your phone and it shows up in that same hour, or that following day. Behind the scenes, that’s been really hard to do in healthcare because of all the different interconnected dependencies, and all the complexities of our healthcare system in America. For us, it was really important to simplify that because at the end of the day, the consumer cares about getting their medication on time or getting that lab test in their home. So it was critical for us to make sure that we built our entire infrastructure with that consumer in mind.” 

The journey from ideation to established start-up wasn’t an easy one, and on this episode of IT Visionaries Sid discusses how his first entrepreneurial adventure helped pave the way for Truepill, why the healthcare industry has been slow to implement new technologies, and how you don’t really know your companies mission until a few years down the road.

For Viswanathan, his journey into the tech industry was never a sure thing. After two years of working in the health services field he had come to the realization that the pathway he selected out of college, simply wasn’t where he was meant to be.

“At that point [I realized] maybe I had made a mistake and picked the wrong degree in college,” he recalled. “You can’t go back in time and redo four years of college. I was trying to find a job in tech and realized that this is where the energy and excitement and speed of innovation was happening. I couldn’t get a job in the tech industry. Nobody would give a mechanical engineer a job in tech because it was predominantly software engineers or computer engineers. And I think that forced me down the path and in 2008 to think about, well, how am I going to break into the tech sector?”

Viswanathan’s first entrepreneurial adventure came in the form of a company called CardMunch, later acquired by Linkedin. The career-defining moment didn’t come in the form of an acquisition or product launch, instead it was the moment Viswanathan and his partner met their first investor, Manu Kumar.

“I think the big sort of career changing moment for me came when we met our first investor and Manu Kumar,” he said. “I’ll remember this because I think as founders, you’ll always remember that first check you got, and when he wrote us that first check, it came with an ultimatum, it came with a condition and that condition was, ‘if I’m investing in you guys, you have to build the entire product and a platform yourself. No contractors, no outsourcing, no dev shops.’ And that’s really how I got into tech.”

Viswanathan credits that moment with providing him the building blocks of understanding how to build applications and the intricacies of API software. But the biggest benefit he realized is that by building a platform by yourself, provides your company a longer runway when it comes to development, because you are not forced to finance the design and development of the platform up front.

“One of your biggest costs in the early days of a start-up is the cost to build your product,” Viswanathan said. “If you can build your product yourself, then that just extends your runway, And that gives you a chance to build longer…It was very prudent and really eye opening for us as a founding team, if you can build every aspect of your product end-to-end, that is critical to a strong foundation for getting a company started.” 

Today Viswanathan has taken those lessons and implemented them into his newest journey, Truepill, a digital health platform that works to bring three categories together: pharmacy, diagnostic and telehealth.

One of the ways their platform has brought these three categories together is through a recently launched program through the United Healthcare Group. As most of the world begins to enter the winter months and flu season begins to ramp up, Truepill and UHG launched a unique program allowing customers the opportunity to

“For the first time, we’re about to enter a flu-season where we’re going to get symptoms, and we’re not going to know the difference between whether you’re dealing with flu-symptoms of COVID symptoms,” Viswanathan said. “We’re now bringing a product to market for 300,000 senior citizens where we’re combining every aspect of our platform, which includes the tele-health piece, where you can talk to a doctor online. It’s got a COVID test as part of the bundle, which is the diagnostics component of our business. And it’s also got some flu medication. The intent of the program is when our senior citizens are most at-risk patients, they experienced symptoms as flu season. They can pick up the phone, call one of our doctors on our platform, and that doctor can help them understand whether they should be taking that COVID test or that flu medication, and that’s really where you start to see the vision of what triple is doing, bringing these three things together.”

Viswanathan broke down the infrastructure of Truepill’s system into two parts: There is the software infrastructure, which includes the API and the front-end interfaces, as well as the physical infrastructure. Which includes the actual pharmacies that have to physically ship the medication to their patients. It’s an intricate piece of technology that all revolves around the ease of use for the customer.

“What we realized when we entered the market three or four years ago is some of the software out there wasn’t designed for this new wave of consumerization,” he said. “So we really had to think about rebuilding our infrastructure from scratch…Everything out there in the market is designed for in-person healthcare and that wasn’t consistent with what we were bringing to market. So it forced us to go back to the drawing board and build a lot of our assets from scratch as we built our platform.” 

One of the main obstacles Truepill has faced in its first couple of years is the resistance to new technologies from the healthcare industry. One of which is the refusal to digitally send prescriptions, a process that is still mainly done through the use of fax machines.

“The entire system of transferring a prescription is built on the concept of the fax machine,” Viswanathan said. “In this country, there are millions and millions of prescriptions that are transferred by a fax…and the reason for that is you can build all the great tech on your side, but at the end of the day, when you’re communicating with that Walgreens, they expect you to fax them to say, ‘Hey, can you send me Albert’s prescription?’ That’s the method today.” 

So when Viswanthan and his team built the platform, they worked to solve processes such as faxing a prescription to streamline the experience for the customers, stating that when you begin to account for the customer experience those types of experiences are the ones you can solve.

“When you begin to peel back the layers, you start to realize that some of the basic concepts of an API are transformative in healthcare,” Viswanathan said. “I think we benefited certainly from the fact that on the flip side of our platform, we never had the vision of going directly after consumers. That was not part of our go to market thesis. We benefited from really innovative healthcare companies doing really groundbreaking things when it came to telehealth and combining tele-health with pharmacy that became really our first customers and these customers, they looked very much like tech companies.”

As the speed of innovation continues to turn, so too does the rapid transformation of the healthcare industry and the products and services offered digitally, and Truepill hopes to be a cornerstone for evolution.

To hear the entire discussion, tune into IT Visionaries here

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